new living room

Welcome to our new living room! This is what you see if you enter from the front of the house.

living room from the front doorThis is probably as good a time as any to show you the unusual front-entry setup, since that would make a boring post by itself. This is a shared foyer–I guess that’s what you’d call it–that you enter from the front step. (The blue door seen here; it’s only blue on the outside. Other fun fact: it only has a knob on the outside, thanks to Those-Who-Lived-Here-Before.) This shot is taken from our open living room door across the foyer to our neighbor’s door. You can see her mail slot and her letter on the floor. We have a slot on our side too.

shared entryHere’s the view from our welcome mat into our living room. Exciting, huh? I know you can barely contain yourself.

our entry  That door we just photographically passed through is at the top right of the photo below. This shot was taken from the direction of the dining room.

 living room as seen from the direction of the dining roomOpposite that large window, on the wall that divides the living room from the kitchen, is Lovey’s desk. (And what a desk it is!) He still has some equipment to unpack.

Lovey's desk areaOn the wall that hides the stairs, we have a small shelf, toys, and a box of stuff that needs a home. I’ll make this look better soon! The door on the left here could be closed to hide the stairs, but for now we’re leaving it open all the time. That may change this winter when we need to keep warm air upstairs.

shelf, play area near stair doorThe area at the foot of the stairs offers a row of hooks for jackets, hats, and scarves. It’s not exactly a coat closet (our big winter stuff is hiding upstairs) but it’ll do for us to keep the current season’s outerwear easily accessible.

front entry insideSo that’s it for the downstairs! Come back soon for a glimpse of the upstairs. In the meantime, if you missed anything, you can occupy yourself by exploring the yard, kitchen, and dining room.

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camping out

bedsheet tent in the living roomDuring the last few weeks Lovey and I have crossed paths as we pass between classes and jobs, caught quick dinners together (most nights), then parted again for the rest of each evening.  It’s no fun living that way, even when we know it’s temporary.  So we scheduled a date night.

Lovey in the tent setting up the laptop

I mentioned the harebrained idea of building a tent in the living room, thinking he wouldn’t go for it, only to come home after a long workday and find him in the midst of building this bedsheet palace.

candles on the outside of the tent!

I added my decorative touches, though no flames were allowed under the canopy.  (Good call, Babe.)  We sprawled on our couch cushions and every other extra pillow and blanket we could find and settled in for an evening of Chinese takeout, Modern Family, and Castle.

candles on the outside of the tent!

I don’t know if you can tell how tired we are in this photo, but to me the half-smiles are evidence of exhaustion.  Our cozy evening of doing Nothing was really Something.  Something we needed.  Something to remember (with a much bigger smile).  Something that brought us together for a few hours in the middle of some crazy days.  I’d live in a tent with this guy for forever.

a room with flowers

It’s kind of a long story so I’ll save it for the end.*  Let’s start with the moral of the long story.  Flowers make a room look better.  Want to see it in action?  Okay, here’s your “before.”

room without flowers

And here’s your “after.”

room with flowers

What do you think?  I think that, even though I can’t afford to always have flowers on hand, they are without a doubt an element of “the good life.”

Maybe you prefer twigs in a bottle or ferns spilling out of a planter.  All I’m saying is that natural elements lend an aura of completeness to home decor.  I think it might actually be good for our souls to see flowers in our living spaces.  What I love about them is that they beg me to interact–to appreciate their beauty with multiple senses.

red mini calla lilies

Next time you buy a bunch, whether it’s a mixed bouquet or all one kind, take a few minutes to study the flowers.  Examine their shapes, feel their textures, and, if you’re lucky, inhale their fragrance.  (Many commercially-grown flowers actually aren’t scented, except in that vaguely organic, leafy way.)

red mini calla lilies, view of throat

Here’s a poet’s reflection on seizing an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of blooming things while he can:

A Shropshire Lad II: Loveliest of trees, the cherry now (A. E. Housman)
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

*If you’re still with me, here’s the story I referenced at the beginning but saved for the end.  On Valentine’s Day a customer called the shop wanting calla lilies.  Those are mini calla lilies pictured above; full callas are as long as your arm (or longer), with “stems” as wide as ribs of celery and leaves as big as hostas.  In other words, all-around enormous.  And expensive.  In our shop on Valentine’s Day they were $12 a stem.

Anyway, this guy wanted a dozen, so I explained the situation to him and suggested minis.  As long as he could have them in white he was happy.  But I didn’t have enough white minis on hand to save for him until the next day, which meant we’d have to order more.  And the thing about ordering flowers from a supplier is that you can’t just order a dozen when you need a dozen.  Most things come in bunches of 10 or 25, and even then you usually have to purchase a certain number of bunches to get your price cut.

So I called the supplier.  He could send 12 bunches at the discounted price, but if I ordered just the two bunches (of 10 stems) needed to get just 12 stems for the customer, it would cost about a dollar more per stem.  And that’s wholesale, so the retail markup would be…more than my customer probably wanted to pay.

So I talked to my manager.  She hesitated, thinking that that many callas right after Valentine’s Day would likely go to waste.  I’ve seen it happen so I understood her doubts.  I said if it helped, I’d but one of the 12 bunches, but by that time she had decided it didn’t matter that much and we could go ahead and place the order with our supplier.  That night I prepped a vase for the callas that would arrive the next day.

Fast forward to the next day: I was scheduled to work in the afternoon but the customer was coming in first thing in the morning.  The story, as I heard it from my manager later, was that he got there before the lilies did!  And he was…how to put this?…unhappy about it.  Understandably.  Turns out he wouldn’t have been happy even if the lilies had been there; they showed him other colors (we just didn’t have the new white ones we’d ordered) and he thought the size was way too small.  Eventually he left with a smile on his face and an all-white bouquet of other flowers in his hands.  But, man, was that almost a minor disaster!

And we were still stuck with 12 bunches of calla lilies.  Let me put that another way: 120 calla lilies that no one wanted.  But I thought the red ones were loverly, and I felt like I almost owed it to my manager to take a bunch of them off of her hands–I’m sure you can see why.

Buying the lilies was the perfect excuse to also buy a narrow-mouthed vase I’d had my eye on for a while.  So the happy bouquet came home to make my living room just a little bit prettier.  And that’s the story.